Saturday, December 8, 2012

London Chess Classic winding up

Daniel Parmet, who is working the London Chess Classic for the second consecutive year, passes along this link to a charitable auction of LCC memorabilia.  As of now, the prices are reasonable!  (Warning: you'll be bidding against me in one of them.)  Daniel posted photos of the event via the Chicago Area Chess Facebook page.

As you can find out from the usual chess websites (ChessBase for example), Hikaru Nakamura is doing well in London, and Magnus Carlsen is playing phenomenally.

In the romantic style

I had the pleasure of analyzing with Stefan Musikic this afternoon, who showed me one of his recent games.  He's an attacking player who thinks in paragraphs, and he's not quite eight years old.  Stefan was the top finisher in the Advanced Section of today's YCFC event at Rickover Naval Academy.

This game was played earlier this year in the All Grade; the loser, Jai Mahajan, tied for second in the event, and had a promising position in this game until Jai fell into Stefan's trap.

White has three mates in two in the diagrammed position: which one is the prettiest?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

YCFC event this weekend at Rickover Naval Academy

Mike Cardinale reminds us that the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago will have an event this Saturday at Rickover Naval Academy (Rickover is part of the Senn High School campus in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, on the Far North Side).  Email cut-and-paste follows:

A final reminder that the second YCFC tournament of
the year takes place this Saturday, December 8th, at
Rickover Naval Academy, with details reprinted below.

 New rosters and roster additions are due Thursday.
Also, please reply with a an estimated number of players
if you haven't already done so.  This is also important
for coaches who wish to reserve a team room! 

Once again, we'll put Will Tseng to the test with a
warm-up clock simul, beginning at approximately 9:30.
All are welcome to participate.

December 8th Tournament at Rickover

Rickover Naval Academy
5900 N. Glenwood (1400 West), just south of Thorndale

Entrance/Parking:  we will be using Door 10 on the west
   side of the building, facing Ridge Ave.  We'll have use of
   the parking lot adjacent to the entrance at Door 10.  The
   entrance to the lot is on Thorndale, which is the street
   bordering the north side of the school.  Thorndale is a
   one-way street heading west, so you will need to approach
   the school from the east on Thorndale to enter the lot.
   There should also be some street parking available.

Schedule:  Registration   9:00 - 9:30
                  Tournament  10:00 - 3:00
                  Trophy Presentation  3:15 (est.)
   All players must check-in at the tournament site by 9:30!
   Late arrivals will not be paired in the first round.

3 Sections:  Novice K-4, Novice 5-8, Advanced
   Unrated, K-8, no entry fee 
   Swiss-style, 5 rounds (est.), USCF standard tiebreaks
   G/20 + 3 sec. increment in Advanced section when clocks are available
   Notation required in the Advanced section

Awards:  Individual trophies to the top 10 in both novice
               sections.  Individual trophies to the top 6 in the
               advanced section.  Team trophies to the top
               three teams in both novice sections.  Team trophy
               to top team in the advanced section.  Team score
               calculated by top four scores in novice sections,
               top three scores in advanced.

Entries:  YCFC uses a roster system for tournament entries.
              All players on submitted rosters are eligible to play in
              any YCFC tournament during the scholastic year.
              Submit rosters, including name, grade, school and
              section to, or by
              fax to 773-248-1007, attn: Mike Cardinale, no later than
              Thursday, December 6th.
              All players must check-in on site by 9:30.

Coaches:  Please let me know if you plan on attending with
                a rough estimate of the number of players by
                Thursday, December 6th.

Thanks to Principal Michael Biela for welcoming us back to Rickover this year!

Wrapup - 2012 Illinois Class Championships

Jim Froehlich (left) plays  Mario Bartocci
Keith Ammann reports on the ICA website!

There are more photos at

Speaking of which, didn't 
Ruy López de Segura advise his readers to place the chess board in such a way that their opponents would be blinded by the light of sun?  Two veteran Illinois tournament players  discovered that artificial light works equally well:

Giving a new meaning to "reflection":
neither player has been identified at the time of this post

Hardware from Orlando

Sam Schmakel (left) already has more than his share of national trophies; Matthew Stevens has plenty of time to catch up.

Photo: Jennifer Stevens

National K-12: finals

Final results are in from Orlando. Trash talk: were I allowed to play hors concours at age 54, I am confident I could win the 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th-grade sections, and I think I could be competitive all the way through eighth grade. (But against the high schoolers, I'd be hopelessly outclassed.)

Congratulations to Sam Schmakel, who tied for the 11th-grade title: unofficially, Sam is second on tiebreaks.

 Nathaniel Kranjc and Gavin McClanahan tied for fifth in the 10th-grade section.

Matthew Stevens tied for second in the 6th-grade section.

Shreya Mangalam was playing for the 4th-grade title in the final round.

Stolen from NM William Aramil's Facebook page:
Nationals in Orlando has officially ended. Overall, it went pretty well. I didn't find anytime to go to Disney World though.
Whitney Young won a National Blitz Championship!! Two players placed 4th and 5th. Two pairs of teammates came in 3rd and 4th in bughouse. The Seniors came in 4th place as a team in the main tournament.
Sam Schmakel did it AGAIN and is a National Co-Champion for all 11th graders!! He was a champion his freshman and sophomore year of high school. Can he win next year and make it a clean sweep for all four years of high school? I don't think it has ever been done!?
Overall, most players played well and gained rating points. Good job to the Whitney Young team!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Support Makes All the Difference

Although I learned the rules of chess when I was 8 years old, for much of my life the game was an exercise in frustration: getting clobbered by computer programs for reasons I couldn't understand, gleaning morsels of knowledge without being able to apply them, believing there must be something about it (or about me) that kept it just beyond the reach of my intelligence. It wasn't until five years ago that I finally began to acquire a real understanding of the game. Now I know that chess is within anyone’s reach -- if you can find the right books or the right teacher. But how much sooner could I have discovered this, how much more success could I have enjoyed, if only I’d had access to a welcoming, encouraging community of chess players who showed me how much more there is to learning chess beyond simply knowing the rules? What if there had been an open and inclusive chess scene that celebrated and rewarded the interest of the novice as well as the triumphs of the expert? What if I could have taken a class someplace to get brought up to speed?

These questions, among others, motivated me to form Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc. in the hope of establishing a new metropolitan chess center in Chicago -- not just a club, but the heart of a vibrant and expanded chess scene that reflects the diversity of our city. A comfortable destination and gathering place. An educational and civic institution. A home as much for the casual player and the curious beginner as for the rising prodigy and the accomplished master.

Please donate today to help us open our doors in 2013.

Your generosity will help us secure a lease on a site, obtain furniture and equipment, and begin offering classes for players of all ages and skill levels, along with a full calendar of U.S. Chess Federation–rated events.

Contribute $250 or more to become a member of our Founders' Court and receive all the benefits of membership plus free instruction, access to exclusive events and more—or give whatever amount you can afford.

For more information, visit our website or e-mail us at


Keith Ammann
Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc.

P.S. We need at least $30,000 just to open our doors, and we can't get there without your help! We're serious about creating a stable and viable institution that will survive through our first year of operation and beyond. The sooner we reach our goal, the sooner we can offer our programs to you. Please donate today—and please share our message with your family and friends.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Every Russian Schoolboy Knows" Akhmilovskaya

Grandmaster Alexander Yermolinsky's lecture series is itself justification for Internet Chess Club membership.

Yermo's most recent lecture is an appreciation of the chess career of Elena Akhmilovskaya Donaldson, who died of brain cancer last month.
Our condolences to her family, friends, and students in Seattle and around the world.